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A group of American soldiers on patrol in the summer of 2006 found a group of Afghan boys tormenting a black and white puppy, which unfortunately is a common sight. They were trying to hack off its ears with a knife, which is often done to Afghan dogs in the belief that it will make them more aggressive in fights. The soldiers rescued Charlie from the boys and took him to their base in Kabul, where a military veterinarian named Captain Jones called us to come get him. One of Charlieís ears was hanging by a thread, but Dr. Rahmatullah was able to reattach the ear with sutures, and miraculously it healed and did not become infected. This was one of the most successful rescues and recoveries we had that year, and it showed us what was possible to accomplish even though we still do not have sophisticated medical equipment or diagnostic tools. Charlie became a healthy and happy puppy, and he was adopted by another American soldier. The photo at left shows Charlie as he came to the shelter, with one ear badly wounded. The photo on the home page shows Charlie just two weeks later when his ear was on the way to full recovery.



Jena is a small, sweet, amber-colored hound, about 2 years old, who was rescued under harrowing conditions in November from the worst conflict zone in southern Afghanistan. A British Marine named Pen Farthing, who is also an animal lover, was sent to fight there, and Jena was one of several dogs who lived near his base camp in the desert. The base in rural Helmand Province was under constant Taliban attack, and the dogs also faced danger from Afghan soldiers and other men who goaded them to fight for sport. Jena gave birth to eight puppies, and Pen sheltered them the best he could, along with the other camp dogs. When the time came for Penís unit to be evacuated, he was frantic to save her and the others, but had no way to do so, since he would be evacuated by military helicopter. We learned about this situation from Penís wife Lisa, who was in London and found out about our work in Kabul through the Mayhew Animal Home and the Humane Society International. She explained Penís urgent need to save the dogs. I arranged with a local contact to send an Afghan cargo truck and driver to the area of Penís camp in hopes of rescuing the dogs. There was no phone communication with the camp, and we did not even know exactly where it was, but Pen sent Lisa the best directions he could, and she and I spoke repeatedly by phone. We made a complicated plan to have the driver approach the base with a white sign bearing Penís name, fearing every moment that Pen would be suddenly evacuated or that there would be another Taliban attack. The cargo driver returned to Kandahar several days later with no dogs, saying he had been stopped at a Taliban checkpost in the desert and forced to turn back. We despaired of saving them, but Pen was finally able to move Jena and the other dogs to a larger, safer base near a town. A week later, we arranged to send another cargo truck to approach the second base, and after two tries, the driver and Pen found each other. Jena and the other dogs were loaded into the truck and driven to Kandahar, then to Kabul Ė a long, expensive and dangerous trip that took many hours. When Jena finally reached Kabul, she was emaciated and trembling, and many of her puppies were missing. We do not know what became of them. She and several other dogs from Helmand remained at the shelter for several months, growing fatter and healthier, but Jena was very shy and still trembled a lot. She shared a large pen with another Helmand dog named Tali, and her two remaining puppies. Meanwhile Penís unit was evcauated from Afghanistan and he returned to London, where he began raising money to bring the dogs out of the country. Tali and another dog named Nawzad were to go to London, which required a huge amount of paperwork, complex medical procedures and six months in quarantine. I was worried that this would be too much for Jena, so I said I wanted to bring her to the States instead and find her a home there. After many delays, Jena flew to the US in mid-June. She was fostered at first by Mike and Melinda Beard in Washington, D.C., where she enjoyed the company of Snowball, a rambunctious labrador-type puppy who also came from the Kabul shelter. She stopped trembling and became extremely affectionate, following people around and waiting for the chance to rest her head on their laps. I think she was making up for so many months of fear and hardship. After a short July vacation on the eastern shore of Virginia, Jena was adopted by a very nice couple in Washington, and she immediately curled up in an armchair by the fire place. A well-deserved home-coming for a very sweet dog.

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